Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Against Nature

Yesterday I found myself for the first time sitting in a hotel bar and ordering tea. Tea and coffee for one. Julie and I looked at each other. Well this is a fine thing I thought, perhaps I've finally joined the other side.
We were returning from the octogenarian Disneyland that is my parents vision of the countryside. To be fair, good for them, but to me the village looks more mechanistic than any urban industry these days. Our urban lands are now feral, but their village is patrolled by a very high percentage of sparkling Landrovers and occupied by a highly selective variety of the socially cloned. The general situation has reversed. Mondrian didn't like green, I suggest today, to represent the forefront of our technological embrace, you'd paint in little else.
One of the highlights is always our walk to the garden centre, the industrial feedstock of this curious place. Here ranks of half dead alpines stand at 50%off, ridiculous stone toads mind potential ponds, and you can buy a crappy forest waterfall for £185. Amidst sacks and sacks of compost barricade sits a cafe and a souvenir shop. It sells perfumed candles and Barbour jackets, a kind of Keep Calm and Carry On franchise with books recommending 'middle age without the crisis', the cover of which depicts a man asleep in his shed. I put it down in disgust.
If you are of a critical disposition, you have to shut up in these places.
Lolling against the counter of the cafeteria was a teenaged girl absently polishing a stainless steel tea pot for want of anything else to do. Thankfully it was clear she could not care less, not for the job, not for the place, not for anything much but her scraggy hair, red lipstick and escape route out of here. She was wearing an old black Jimi Hendrix Experience 1968 tee shirt. 'Urbanity' I thought, 'culture' I thought, people making their ordinary everyday rebellious decisions, I thought, thank fuck for that.

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